In a stunning example of democracy in action that would surely make the likes of Muammar Gaddafi, Kim Jong-il and countless other dictators and petty despots proud, Sepp Blatter, running unopposed, was re-elected president of FIFA by a vote of 186 to 17. As Marina Hyde wrote in the Guardian,
There was the absolute denial of wrongdoing, concluded after a rigorous 30-second investigation. There was the requisite mad dictator’s waffle: “All the little devils can enter this game, and we have to fight against these devils … ” There was the pious vanity – “elegance is an attitude … I have learned this in my life” – and there were the lukewarm, expedient claims to be “listening” to critics, delivered alongside significantly more robust orders to foreign governments to stay out of his jurisdiction’s affairs. “If governments try to intervene then something is wrong,” he warned. “Fifa is strong enough that we can deal with our problems inside Fifa.”
More on that below. But first, news from closer by.
The Union have waived Chris Agorsor. With Ruiz at the Gold Cup, the Union are now down two forwards for the near future.
The Agorsor news aside, Peter Nowak has made it clear that the Union will be looking for summer transfer window signings. What’s he looking for? “The chemistry of the team is very good,” Nowak said at Wednesday’s press conference. “We might just be looking for pieces that, at the end of the day, when you hit a very important stretch before we finish the season, who are going to be the players and who are not going to be the players to create the kind of depth—quality depth—to contend?”
Protecting that chemistry in the interest of promoting and enhancing cohesiveness on and off the field is more important than going out and signing some bid name designated player. “We have 26 big names. That’s more important,” Nowak explained. “This is not tennis or golf, where an individual player changes things. This is 11 guys who are on the field, 24 or 26 in the locker room, and it’s different dynamics and different lifestyles. As much as I wish to have three of them [designated players] like LA, we created a certain foundation last year—the team, the fans, the city, the stadium. We are Philadelphia Union, a team that will play hard and give everything until the 90th minute.”
The Union move up four spots to no. 2 in the SBI power rankings.
Justin Mapp was named to MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week for Week 11.
John Hackworth on the importance of the Reading United v Union friendly: “This night was about our relationship with Reading United. Part of what we want to do is make sure there is a step for players to go from one level to the next…We want to make sure the players on the other side of the field know the opportunity is real.”
Kyle Nakazawa is hosting a team dinner on July 21 at Fogo De Chao to benefit the Ascend Group of Philadelphia’s efforts to foster Asberger’s Syndrome awareness. Tickets are $75. Players scheduled to attend include Califf, Carroll, G. Farfan, M. Farfan, Harvey, Le Toux, Mapp, McInerney, Miglioranzi, Nakazawa, Okugo, and Williams.
Harrisburg City Islanders will host Reading United in the first round of the US Open Cup on Tuesday, June 14.
Local amateur side Phoenix SC will face USL PRO side Rochester Rhinos at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, NY also on Tuesday, June 14
Rumors have been circulating that Marcus Hahnemann will be joining Seattle Sounders. ESPN’s Douglas McIntyre tweeted this quote from Hahnemann: “I have to talk to Sigi Schmid and the guys in Seattle to see if they actually want me first.” Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer released a statement that said, “there is a very specific process through which U.S. National Team players may enter Major League Soccer, so we cannot make any comments on specific contract negotiations or the likelihood of Marcus ending up in Seattle.”
US Soccer president Sunil Gulati was one of four recipients of a letter from acting CONCACAF president Lisle Austin explaining why his firing of Chuck Blazer as general secretary was legal. Austin also said in the letter that he has initiated a forensic audit of the confederations financial records for the past five years. Blazer’s status is still unknown. Also unknown is how Gulati voted in the FIFA election.
The Shin Guardian previews this weekend’s USA v Spain friendly.
Clint Dempsey on Spain: “‘They’re a great team, and they’re the world champions, but our focus for that game is as preparation for the Gold Cup. We want to win that tournament.”
“Momentum is kind of perceived, right? So our job is to continue to play well, continue to inspire, continue to build the sport,” said Landon Donovan at the USMNT training camp in Cary, NC. “That’s what our goal is. The rest of it, you can’t really control. We know if we keep playing well and keep going the way we’re going, people are going to keep following us.”
Blatter promises reform, but he has made such promises before. The example of the International Olympic Committee, which instituted widespread and effective reforms following the scandal involving vote buying for the Salt Lake City Olympics, is there to follow, but some worry that FIFA is simply to big to fail whatever the scandal. “If FIFA is not going to do the game any good,” said IOC member Dick Pound, who led the IOC’s anti-corruption drive linked to Salt Lake City, “the game may have to do something to FIFA.”
Blatter has proposed that Henry Kissinger and Johann Cryuff lead the “solution committee” to address the systemic problems at FIFA. “This will be a commission of the wise,” Blatter blathered. “Kissinger loves football: he’ll be part of it. And Cruyff, he’s the perfect personality to help us in this solution commission.”
More World Cup sponsors are voicing concerns about the effect of the ongoing corruption scandal on the reputation of FIFA with Continental, Sony and Visa echoing statements made earlier this week by Coca Cola, adidas and Emirates. Jamie Gilbert-Smith, strategy director for sports marketing agency Octagon, said, “It is the game of football and the World Cup itself that is the product and platform, not FIFA’s brand endorsement per se. That said, if this negativity starts to affect the return on investment that partners receive from their sponsorship then they will be concerned. If it affecting the global reach of the World Cup, or the way their hero athletes talk about that iconic property then brands start to see material harm to their investments.”
How serious are the sponsor’s concerns? Not very, according to Blatter. “They told us they trust us but said please bring FIFA’s boat back into better waters. Nobody has said they would withdraw, they were only a little bit concerned.”
Blatter says he will hold no grudge against England.
Graham Taylor, former England manager and member of FIFA’s echnical committee, says he was encouraged to submit false expense reports by FIFA officials.
Tim Vickery argues that there was no pre-Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter Garden of Eden at FIFA, “just a different FIFA with different defects.”